Cuomo’s High Approval Rating Falls After Gun Law Push

January 30, 2013 5:10 a.m.
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Playing the role of political pundit Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) predicted that his sky-high approval rating would dip in light of his successful effort to make New York the first state to pass new gun laws following last month’s shooting in Newtown, Conn.

A poll released Wednesday proved that he was right.According to the latest findings from Quinnipiac University, the first-term governor’s approval rating stands at 59 percent — still a strong number, to be sure, but a huge decline since last month’s poll. In the December survey from Quinnipiac, 74 percent of New York voters said they approved of the job Cuomo was doing. His disapproval rating has more than doubled, climbing from 13 percent in December to 28 percent in Wednesday’s poll.

The shift can be attributed to the sweeping gun control package that swiftly passed the state legislature and was signed into law by Cuomo earlier this month. While he remains broadly popular, Cuomo appears to have lost his bipartisan appeal. A month ago, 68 percent of Republicans in New York approved of his job performance. Today, GOP voters are split: 44 percent said they approve of Cuomo while 43 percent said they disapprove.

The latest Quinnipiac poll also highlighted a stark divide between those who own guns and those who don’t. Among voters in households without guns, 68 percent approve of the job Cuomo is doing while only 19 percent disapprove. In households with guns, 50 percent of voters said they disapprove of the governor compared with 40 percent who approve.

During a radio interview Tuesday, Cuomo conceded that he likely spent some political capital by pushing for the new gun laws. He likewise acknowledged the political difficulties of passing gun control during a fiery State of the State address earlier this month.

“The issue is about a 70-30 issue. 70 percent of the people of the state saying they wanted gun control, etcetera,” Cuomo said Tuesday, according to the New York Observer. “Within the 30, there’s a group that feels very strongly about it. You’ve been making their case quite eloquently for a number of days. They tend to be [from] Upstate. They tend to be conservative. … I know their opposition. I know they’re going to be displeased. I would expect that you’re going to see that in the poll. And that will be that. They will be unhappy.”

Cuomo was right when he suggested that the state’s new gun laws are widely backed by New York voters. A poll from Siena College conducted shortly after the measure was signed by Cuomo showed vast majorities favoring individual provisions of the package. Quinnipiac’s latest indicated that 34 percent of New York voters (including 59 percent of Republicans) believe the new laws go “too far,” while 30 percent said they don’t go far enough and another 30 percent said the laws are “about right.” The poll also showed 76 percent of voters favoring the state’s new law that requires mental-health professionals to report patients who they believe to be a threat to themselves or to others and allows law enforcement to confiscate any firearm owned by the patient.

And Cuomo, for his part, is still far from facing any real political danger, as evidenced by the PollTracker Average.

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